SEED: Speeding Every European Digital (SEED)

Published on: 29/03/2013

The main objective of the SEED (Speeding Every European Digital) project is to raise citizens’ awareness about the existing eGovernment contents and services previously invested by European Public Sectors, in order for citizens to be able to benefit from them.

More specifically, SEED is a powerful eService “for raising awareness and stimulating End Users engagement” about inclusive eGovernment services among citizens across Europe:

  • In a highly scalable and affordable way, served from the cloud computing,
  • Reusing as much as possible the European, National, Regional and Local stocks of Public Sector Information (PSI), and
  • Delivering it to citizens using Interactive Public Service Advertising (i-PSA) strategies: the final link to move from ‘Awareness’ to ‘Engagement’.

The aim of SEED is to expand, through the ‘cloud computing’ approach and a very cheap network of Interactive Public Service Advertising (i-PSA) nodes, the positive results of European Inclusive eGovernance initiatives to boost “citizen-centric” eGovernment Services, to reuse as much as possible the European, National, Regional and Local stocks of Public Sector Information (PSI) and to leverage saving costs of eGovernment and eGovernance deployments. SEED re-uses PSI making mash-ups of eGovernance contents for raising awareness of citizens about eGovernment services available across all Europe: it is, transforming PSI in i-PSA messages.

Policy Context

SEED background is rooted in EC’s Digital Agenda, launched in Brussels on 12 December 2011 and reinforces its strategies. In its ‘Digital Agenda for Europe’, the EC has identified the reuse of public sector information, as key to delivering a Digital Single Market.

EC supports open data and considers that accessing, analysing, reusing, combining, and processing governmental data, will produce important benefits that can be grouped around two dimensions:

  • Transparency: Open data is perceived as a powerful instrument to increase transparency in public administration, improving visibility on previously not accessible information, informing citizens and business on policies, public spending and outcomes.
  • New services and economic growth: data combined in innovative and not initially foreseen ways enables new added-value services, boosting job creation, and resulting in substantial improvements in public service provision while contributing to economic growth.

SEED is partially funded by the ICT Policy Support Programme (or ICT PSP). The Competitiveness and Innovation framework Programme (CIP) runs for the years 2007-2013 and is organised around three multi-annual specific programmes: Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Programme (EIP); Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Policy Support: Programme (ICT PSP): Intelligent Energy Europe: Programme (IEE).

Description of target users and groups

SEED’s main target users are citizens, especially those with low digital skills and ‘at risk of eExclusion’, that are, usually, frequent users of public facilities. They often visit public spaces for getting information about various things that are important to them, such as looking for a job or paying their taxes.

Thanks to the SEED service, which will be placed in public spaces (Town Hall, Health Care Centres, Libraries, Sports Centres, Parks, Main streets or squares, etc.) citizens will receive messages that will catch their attention.

For example, citizens queuing at the Town Hall to start a procedure will be informed by an interactive carousel on how to avoid the queue by using a self-service placed in the same building; Elders not acquainted with PCs will be “always up to date” on Public Sector activities at Elders Centres; other citizens maybe more able to use some devices but that are unemployed, will be informed, through the window of the Library, about latest job opportunities (from Local, Regional, National and even European job offers opportunities such as the EURES portal), etc.

SEED provides direct communication to citizens at point of decision, where the viewer is either waiting for service or looking for the right information.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

SEED pilots are planned to validate Public Sector Information (PSI) and interactive-Public Sector Advertising (iPSA) inclusive services (public content already own by participating public partners and/or content provided from third parties) through the different proposed channels. Each pilot has chosen different features and services to be offered to the citizenships, but the project approach always follows the same steps:

  1. Enrich the eGovernment services offer relying on Inclusive eGovernment and PSI reuse.
  2. Raise awareness among citizenship relying on the tools provided by Public Sector Advertising (PSA)
  3. Engage End Users active participation in eGovernment relying on “moving from PSA to i-PSA” using eGovernment Public nodes.

This will be done in pilots by:

Reusing pre-existing investments to deploy SEED services

SEED pilot deploying an ‘indoor’ and ‘outdoor’ scenario using several ICT multi-modal capabilities:

  • PC-based scenarios
  • Kiosk-based scenarios
  • TV set-based scenarios
  • Beam projector-based scenarios
  • Smart Phones scenarios

Enriching eGovernmnet Services Offer (PSI reuse and Inclusive eGoverment usage)

  • At least 15 different services coming from “Own” and “Third Parties” PSI stocks across Europe Services must come from pre-existing investments, Back-Offices or sources of content
  • At least 2 “Own” PSI services in every pilot case must be successfully integrated
  • At least 2 “Third Parties” PSI services in every pilot case must be successfully integrated

Services integrated in SEED pilots must be Inclusive eGovernment services. Every service integrated in a SEED pilot should be available for its usage in:

  • Keyboard and mouse based environments
  • Touch based interfaces
  • Gesture-navigation based interfaces
  • Smart Phone as a remote control scenarios

Raising Awareness (PSA to better impact on Citizenship)

At least 2 scenarios: one ‘indoor’ and one ‘outdoor’

  • With an impact close to a 50 % of the total population of the pilot areas
  • Managing only updated information (one month maximum from its publication).

Technology solution

SEED Cloud Computing Technological Structure: using a unique approach to tackle eGovernment Services Awareness, Enrichment and Engagement under Cloud-based models is quite innovative, but also ensures that scalability and affordability are always under control while the deployment of a cheap and effective set of eGovernment Public nodes is managed, helping to deploy the Virtuous Circle of Digital Economy by providing the interaction mechanisms needed when End Users reach the ‘Engagement’ phase.

Technology choice: Proprietary technology, Standards-based technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

SEED wants to contribute to the innovation capacity of the EU, as expressed notably in the Digital Agenda for Europe, facilitating the development of EU wide markets for innovative ICT-based products and services of “huge IMPACT in citizens” for all European level of Governments and exploiting digital content, deploying across all the Member States and Accession Countries of European Union.                                

All the partners are engaged in the full deployment of SEED, beyond the EC funding phase, whose “innovation” has been proved to be truly marketable, securing also the support of public bodies and developing the capacity to build support and consensus across the entire EU.

SEED demonstrates, using 8 pilot sites running SEED services for 12 months, that:

  • Cloud Computing e-Gov Services are realistic, easier to deploy, maintain and upgrade.
  • Re-using pre-existing e-Gov investments and PSI stocks across Europe result in a cleverer use of e-Gov contents and empower those efforts to make them more efficient in terms of costs, impact and usage.
  • Communicating with citizenship using i-PSA strategies multiplies the impact in terms of total users aware of e-Gov services availability (on a 20%) and in terms of total users engaged with e-Gov services (on a 5%), making all efforts and investments more profitable in terms of Public Administration efficiency.
  • All relevant stakeholders can benefit from SEED services as: e-Gov content and services delivery is easier and fully automated to Civil Servants and IT technicians; e-Inclusion goals achievement and integration in PA policies to politicians; End Users finding, access, usage and acceptance to End Users.

SEED is able to demonstrate that its i-PSA (interactive Public Sector Advertising) approach generates savings to the Public Sector by:

  • Better reaching the citizenship and then lowering the cost per citizen of pre-existing and future e-Gov related investments
  • Better engaging the citizenship and then lowering the cost per citizen of attention via non electronic channels
  • Better reusing PSI stocks and then eliminating the cost of building previously unavailable e-Gov services
  • Better reusing public spaces and facilities empowering its efficiency in services provided to the citizen.

SEED is monitoring these benefits using several indicators linked to its goals and foreseen actions, and its financial assumptions rely on the available information demonstrating how these savings can be achieved in the long term.

Pilots Validation

SEED validation activities will include all stakeholders in the e-Gov Services provision Value Chain: from ICT technicians supporting pre-existing investments or PSI stocks to Civil Servants acting as Content Managers and End Users testing and accepting the services. Also political and financial responsible of PAs will take part in the validation experience to check how SEED is generating savings and empowering efforts to result in a more effective and efficient way to manage citizenship-PA relations.

The specific scope of SEED is to start the FULL deployment in different Regions of New Member States of European Union and Pre-Accession Countries. Furthermore, SEED intends to support these euro-diverse pilots as a sample of different market realities in Europe, but with a coherent and measurable “common approach”: using the same pilot’s methodology in all countries.

Focusing the pilots in Regions of New Member States of European Union and Pre-Accession Countries, SEED Consortium wants to highlight the potential to reduce information and communications technology (ICT) costs by virtualising capital assets into a readily available, affordable operating expense.

The customization and technical testing of the pilots is being done during the first part of the project (2012 and 2013). The main reason of the continuous provision of service is the commitment of the Consortium in following the continuity of SEED until the end of the funded CIP ICT PSP phase in a sustainable way and maybe even expanding after it the service to new European niches.

The end result of the project will be a real service deployed and having an impact into 519 000 European citizens and a feasibility of full deployment consisting of the following elements:

  • Demonstration of the operational service in 5 Member States of Europe and 1 Pre-Accession Country involving a significant number of users in real-life conditions.
  • Additional demonstration in other countries where SEED can be deployed (belonging to the ‘first’ of ‘second’ waves of the pan-European movement of SEED) that will be associated to the project.
  • Peer review of the service, through a series of dissemination and networking activities taking the form of local trials in the SEED areas, and of a series of workshops / seminars / conference and thematic fairs.
  • Documented feedback from the user population, including the description of specific challenges and barriers (if any) to overcome prior to full deployment.

Return on investment

Return on investment: €1,000,000-5,000,000

Track record of sharing

In SEED, exploitation, dissemination and networking activities are being tightly coordinated, as a part of detailed plans for larger-scale sustainable uptake and replication beyond the pilot. Dissemination and communication activities on the “achieved results” are provided in order to be a substantial and high-profile contribution to Europe 2020 flagship initiatives Digital Agenda for Europe and Innovation Union.

The purpose of the Deployment Plan is to describe planned dissemination and replication activities within the SEED project. Raising awareness of the project in order to make SEED a successful and sustainable project is the main purpose of the dissemination activities. This is carried out by using various communication materials, but also by face to face information at conferences and workshops.

SEED project aims to address issues relating to the awareness of citizens about PSI and PSI reuse and awareness of PAs about the possibilities of PSA (Public Service Advertising) addressed to citizens as the best way to feed back citizens awareness about the availability of PSI digital resources at both the strategic and practical level. The practical experience and guidance to emerge from the project work will be of relevance to an array of stakeholders within EC and beyond and will be of value across different sectors and internationally.

To fulfil these aims, the SEED project is targeting several audiences, mainly Public Administrations at National, Regional and Local level (policy makers) and civil servants, and specialized experts and agencies. Clear channels of communications between the project partners themselves as well as with the wider community will play a crucial role in the success of the project.

The SEED project will establish an infrastructure for communications (and therefore dissemination) by building a robust framework in which dialogue and interaction can take place. This applies equally to internal and external communication.

Communicate with the SEED stakeholding communities:

SEED will identify those communities which have a crucial stake in its activities and for each stakeholding community so identified, the project will:

  • assess its communication needs (contributions and uses) of the SEED project;
  • identify the information and materials/resources necessary to maximise its use of and/or contribution to SEED activities;
  • evaluate where and into what SEED activities, input may be most appropriately solicited from the community's members.

SEED is basing its promotional activities through the web-site of the project: and is reaching high audiences by social networks as Facebook: and Twitte:@seed_EU.

In SEED we have considered the following audiences:

  • Internal (inside each partner institution or company and the project Consortium): These are people supporting the project and in many cases, contributing directly to it, thus should keep informed about what we are doing.
  • External stakeholders: Are those who might take up our outputs and those that can help us to ‘make it happen’. These might be public authorities, other services providers, telecommunications operators, mass media channels, etc. Consortium will have to think how to engage with them.
  • The community: There is much to share in SEED with the general public. For example, questionnaires, and what we are learning from our direct experience across different countries in Europe
  • EC programmes: Sharing our results with other projects, within the CIP programme and even across EC programmes. Programmes and Cluster meetings can be a good opportunity to share what we have done and get feedback from projects doing similar work or facing similar problems and issues.

Lessons learnt

SEED has identified three levels of target groups where several points have been remarked in order to improve and take into account the different lessons learned so far during the project implementation. Find below some of the results at this stage:

  • Public Administrations Feedback:
    • Cities and cultural institutions in the Regions react very positively to the possibility of utilising the SEED tool.
    • Partners are a bit reluctant to expose visitors to excessive advertisement and information.
    • Most international PSI sources not available in all EU Languages.
    • Public Administrations can achieve greater decentralisation and organisational flexibility.
    • Public institutions are not sufficiently oriented towards the strategic goals set by the Digital Agenda strategy and there is a lack of openness for establishing new communication channels with citizens.
    • In order to fully embrace the collaborative eGovernment the civil servants should change their perception of the role of public administration and its accessibility to citizens.
  • Business & Economic Lessons:
    • PSI is saving costs (printing material, time spent, etc).
    • Better engagement of the citizens and lower the cost per citizen of attention via non electronic channels.
    • To create exploitation opportunities for Content and Service Managers that appears to private actors supporting Public Administrations.
    • SEED provides a low cost solution for municipalities.
    • Integrates new communication channels and technologies (Smart TVs, smartphones, QR Codes…)
    • Re-uses previous investments in public infrastructures.
  • Citizens Feedback:
    • The improvement of the accessibility of self-service terminals such as information kiosks, various initiatives at strategic and legislation levels exist to support the use of electronic communication aids for those disabled.
    • Enhance sustainable tourism by providing tourist-centred services.
    • Provides interactive way of citizen engagement.
    • Users are better informed and aware of their rights and available services.
Scope: Cross-border, International, Local (city or municipality), National, Pan-European